Thursday, April 25, 2013

May is Drowning Prevention Awareness month

Let's be thankful there is an entire month dedicated to drowning prevention awareness. Unfortunately when drowning is the second-leading cause of death to children ages 1-5 in the United States, a month of awareness just doesn't feel like enough.

We need to better understand how we can prevent drowning - don't stop reading if you don't have children and think this doesn't pertain to you. Drowning affects everyone. You, your family, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, etc.

While children can drown any time of year, in any place there's a water structure, let's take the next 31 days to make a difference the whole year, and perhaps a lifetime.

Even if you don't have a pool, or a child your voice can make a difference simply by telling someone about simple steps that will help to save lives. The backyard barbecue with children running around, the friend next door with the doggie door big enough for a child to crawl out of, the babysitter that left the room to take a call or return a text.

It only takes a moment for a child to drown, and a moment you will replay in your mind the rest of your life. Let's put an end to this. Together. Join with us and take the Simple Steps Save Lives pledge, to share with someone, anyone, that adding as many proven water safety steps as possible is the best way to assure safety and fun around pools and spas. Take the pledge.

Drowning Prevention Begins with Layers of protection:
  • ALWAYS know where children are. Never leave a child unattended in or near water in a pool, tub, lake, river, canal or ocean, even when lifeguards are present.
  • ALWAYS be aware of potential dangers in all environments, such as when away from home. Never leave your child in an environment with unprotected water hazards.
  •  If a child is missing, always check the pool or spa first.
  • Install “isolation fencing” which completely separates the pool or spa area from the house or other structures. An isolation fence restricts unauthorized access from neighbors’ yards, other nearby buildings, and from inside the house. Isolation fencing is the preferred configuration for pool and spa protection.
  • All fences must be non-climbable, meet all applicable local safety codes, and should be at least 60” tall, with vertical bars set close to one another so that a small child cannot squeeze through.
  • Gates should be self-closing and self-latching and accommodate a locking device such as the rust-free MagnaLatch® Top Pull, along with self-closing hinges like the TruClose®.
  • Gates should open away from the pool and have self-closing hinges, and should never be propped open. Check and adjust your gate regularly to make sure it operates correctly.
  • The gate latch should be out of the reach of children, at least 54” from the ground. Use a locking latch, and keep it locked when pool is not in use. Store the key out of children’s reached and make sure all adults know where the key is kept.
  • Keep anything that can be climbed, such as chairs, tables, storage bins, playground equipment, ice chests, etc. inside the fence area.
  • All doors providing direct access from the home to the swimming pool should be equipped with a self-closing, self latching device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches above the floor.